Treatment of Neck and Shoulder Pain by Thread Implantation

People who sit for long periods while working in offices and are prone to neck and shoulder pain can find pain relief through thread implantation therapy, which falls under traditional medicine. This technique can also prevent further discomfort from recurring.

Neck and shoulder pain are common in office workers

Nguyen Van Huy (49 years old, living in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City) suffers from severe pain in the neck, shoulders and back after working for a long time at his computer, driving, and on cold days. His pain typically subsides when he exercises or applies heat, but when it persisted beyond his tolerance in mid-September, Huy visited FV Hospital for a check-up.

His X-ray results showed that he had mild spondylolisthesis with a pain level of 3/10, so his doctor prescribed acupuncture. After two acupuncture sessions, the pain in his neck, shoulder and back eased, but when Huy stopped receiving treatment his symptoms returned. Huy consulted with his doctor and decided to try catgut thread implantation. After receiving the first phase of implants, Mr Huy said that 80 to 90 per cent of his pain had gone; after the second round, he felt completely recovered.

Dr Diec Kha Han performs threat catgut implantation to treat neck and shoulder pain at FV Hospital.

Similarly, businessman Luong Van Thanh (55 years old, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City) experienced pain that caused stiffness in his shoulder muscles and an inability to move. He visited many hospitals seeking treatment and was examined by specialists in internal neurology, neurosurgery, musculoskeletal medicine, physical therapy, psychology and psychiatry.

When his pain rendered him unable to walk and eat in early 2022, his family took him to FV Hospital. At FV, he received a multidisciplinary consultation, combining anti-inflammatory, pain and muscle relaxation medication, and acupuncture at the Traditional Medicine Department, FV Hospital. Because Mr Thanh’s pain recurred if he stopped receiving acupuncture, he was assigned to have threads implanted. After three sessions and other treatment, his shoulder muscles have recovered and he has returned to his normal activities.

Dr Diec Kha Han, Head of Traditional Medicine, FV Hospital, explains that many people think neck and shoulder pain is a minor inconvenience that often resolves on its own, so they do not visit their doctor. Day by day, the disease worsens, leading to complications and more serious consequences. In severe cases, patient have sequelae after treatment and their ability to recover is extremely limited.

It is necessary to determine the right cause of pain and combine many specialties

According to Dr Han, neck pain syndrome is very common throughout the world. The disease is common in people who work a lot at computers, smartphones, especially in air-conditioned rooms, and have little time to exercise the spine, especially the cervical spine.

The main causes of the disease fall into three groups: stress leading to muscle tension; continuous overwork without rest; and physical diseases such as spondylolisthesis, disc herniation, spondylosis. The third group includes rare issues, such as congenital diseases of the spine (e.g. spina bifida), diseases related to the neck and shoulders, and engaging in sports with poor form.

Dr Diec Kha Han consults a patient regarding neck and shoulder pain.

When the symptoms of neck and shoulder fatigue are mainly experienced after waking and in the evening after work, the patient should visit the hospital for an early examination. If the neck area is numb and weak, and the patient experiences pain that continuously spreads down their arm, then the disease is considered severe.

Treatment of neck and shoulder pain may combine many methods to ensure optimal results, especially in cases of diseases related to the spine. FV Hospital encompasses many specialties, is fully equipped for diagnostic imaging, and can organise consultations with many specialties in collaboration with the Traditional Medicine Department, such as the Pain Clinic, Physiotherapy, Psychology and Psychiatry. This helps doctors to effectively treat neck and shoulder pain. Doctors also guide patients to adjust bad habits that affect the cervical spine.

In addition to the many methods of effectively treating neck and shoulder pain during the treatment process, in addition to advising on the correct posture in daily life and self-massage when returning home, Dr Han recommends that patients try moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, cycling and yoga. Patients are advised to avoid heavy sports such as basketball, soccer, badminton, tennis.

Patients also need to review whether the height of their table and chair is appropriate. The computer should be at eye level, the distance from the eyes to the computer should be around 50 centimetres, and the neck should always be kept straight when working. Patients should rest, rotate their neck gently every 45 minutes and practice neck muscle exercises at work.

Sleeping in the wrong position can also lead to neck and shoulder pain, such as lying on a sunken mattress or lying on a high pillow, both of which can cause the wrong physiological curvature of the cervical spine. The best sleeping position is to lie on your back. Wearing a backpack on one side or carrying unbalanced weight that pulls to one side for a long time can also cause neck and shoulder pain.

Dr Han added that some people have a habit of cracking their necks and shaking their heads to feel less tired. Although this can provide temporary comfort, these movements can cause cervical spine degeneration, and cause cervical spondylitis and worse, cervical vertebral disc herniation, over the long term.

* The character name was changed.